The world’s two largest container shipping lines are ending their alliance as the fierce rivalry over transporting global trade hots up.
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Maersk, the number one and two in the container shipping industry by volumes, agreed on Wednesday to terminate their 2M alliance in January 2025.
“Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for both companies to continue to pursue their individual strategies,” said the Swiss and Danish companies’ chief executives in a joint statement.
They added that they “look forward to a continued strong collaboration throughout the remainder of the agreement period”.
MSC overtook Maersk last year as the world’s biggest container shipping line and has used the recent boom in freight rates to launch a programme of ordering new ships and buying existing vessels.
Under chief executive Søren Toft, a former senior manager at Maersk, the secretive and private MSC has grown so quickly that analysts suggested in recent months that it had outgrown the alliance.
Together, the two companies control two-fifths of all seaborne freight, giving the 2M alliance power and the ability to offer customers more frequent departures than a single shipping line.
Maersk argued that the end of the alliance suited a recent change in strategy where it now seeks to provide logistics services to customers from their warehouse to the end customer. The Danish group has unveiled several billion-dollar acquisitions to bulk up its land-based logistics business in recent years.
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